A suspect has been arrested in the assault of two transgender women in Queens, New York.
38-year old Long Island resident Patrick O’Meara harassed two transgender women in front of a Jackson Heights McDonald’s on Friday, targeting their gender identity by yelling slurs at them. O’Meara proceeded to push one woman to the ground, punching and kicking her in front of the entrance, according to CBS New York. He then returned to the area and hit the other woman with a cane. O’Meara was arrested shortly after by the NYPD, and was charged with two counts of assault as a hate crime.
Although New York City is known for its vibrant LGBTQ population, the municipality also has one of the highest reported hate crime counts on record. A study from one California State University hate crimes researcher reveals that President Trump’s election has partly fueled a 20 percent increase in hate crimes throughout 2016. New York led nine U.S. cities with 380 reports, a 24 percent jump from 2015.
2017 has also been a particularly violent year against the transgender community, especially towards transgender women of color. In February, five transgender women were slain, including three transgender women of color in Louisiana. Two transgender Pakistani women were also tortured and killed by police in Saudi Arabia, and eight Brazilian men were arrested in connection to a brutal beating and killing of a local transgender woman. Activists fear 2017 will be the bloodiest year on record for the transgender community.